Can Drinking Vinegar Cause Damage During Pregnancy?
Some popular health sources and practitioners of alternative medicine recommend consuming vinegar to help regulate blood sugar, among other purported benefits. However, the increased sensitivity of your body to ingested foods during pregnancy means that you may want to avoid drinking vinegar if you're pregnant.
There are several health claims that appear in popular media regarding vinegar. For instance, you may have heard that vinegar helps you lose weight, prevents diabetes or helps regulate your blood sugar. The evidence to support these claims is all quite preliminary, however, which means you shouldn't use vinegar to treat a medical condition, and you should talk to your doctor before consuming vinegar as a dietary supplement.
Vinegar And Pregnancy
There are a few reported side effects of drinking vinegar that could be even more problematic during pregnancy. First, vinegar is very acidic. As such, it can increase the likelihood that you'll experience heartburn, which is quite prevalent during pregnancy, explain Heidi Murkoff and Sharon Mazel in their book "What To Expect When You're Expecting." Vinegar has also been known to cause burns to the esophagus, notes Dr. Carol Johnston in the book "Complementary and Alternative Therapies in the Aging Population."
One of the most distressing adverse effects reported as a result of drinking vinegar is hypokalemia, or low potassium. Potassium is an electrolyte that you need to maintain at normal levels for purposes of cellular communication and function, as well as fluid balance. While hypokalemia isn't a common side effect of drinking vinegar, pregnancy can put you at increased risk of electrolyte imbalance, so you should talk to your doctor before using vinegar.
If you're using vinegar to help stabilize blood sugar, which is one of the most common alternative uses of the substance, you may wish to try consuming a balanced, healthy diet instead. Eating a mixture of fresh fruits and vegetables, lean protein, whole grains and plant-based fats will help stabilize your blood sugar naturally, without having to rely upon consumption of a substance that could increase your likelihood of discomfort or complication during pregnancy.
- “What to Expect When You’re Expecting”; Heidi Murkoff and Sharon Mazel; 2008
- University of Texas M.D. Andersen Cancer Center: "Complementary/Integrative Medicine Therapies: Apple Cider Vinegar"; Carol Johnston, Ronald Watson, ed.; 2009
- University of Rochester Medical Center: Pregnancy and Heartburn